General Electric I-A Turbojet Engine

Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

Two General Electric Type I-A turbojet engines powered the first American jet aircraft, the Bell XP-59A, which first flew on October 2, 1942, near Muroc, California. The Type I-A was derived from the British Power Jets W.I.X., designed by Frank Whittle.

In 1941 Chief of the Air Corps Gen. H. H. Arnold negotiated with the British government for the transfer of a set of drawings and one Power Jets W.I.X. turbojet engine. Arnold selected General Electric to build experimental engines to Whittle's design, due to GE's experience with turbosuperchargers. The first GE engine, known as the Type I, ran on March 18, 1942, in Lynn, Massachusetts-the first jet engine to run in America. The I-A was an improvement of this engine.